"Cabaret is just an excuse for self-involved actors to hold an audience hostage, singing songs they have no business singing, and telling anecdotes from their unremarkable lives," deadpanned Jane Lynch in her solo concert debut. "That always seemed like something I'd like to do."
An Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner for her role as the cantankerous Sue Sylvester on Fox's Glee, the out 53-year-old actress made her "maiden voyage" into the nightclub performance scene last week at New York's 54 Below.
Here are some of our favorite moments.
1. The veteran of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Second City opened with "If Wishes Were Rainbows," a syrupy, nonsensical song by Jill Soloway swiped from Lynch's solo play Oh, Sister, My Sister! An appropriate LGBT pride-ready lighting scheme set the tone.
2. The self-described "fascinating person" rousingly detailed a flirtatious same-sex encounter in "Slappin' the Cakes on Me," an obscure ditty by Dave Frishberg.
3. Special guest Kate Flannery, best known as Meredith on The Office, explained that she was just in town to appear on The Red Skelton Show. The funny ladies then channeled the Barry Sisters and SNL's Sweeney Sisters with an ironically bouncy arrangement of "Far From the Home I Love" from Fiddler on the Roof.
4. Lynch paid tribute to the recently deceased Ann B. Davis with her first encore, a hilarious reworking of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" — "go ask Alice!" — from The Real Live Brady Bunch, a '90s stage spoof starring Lynch as Carol Brady.
5. The Happy Accidents author, who made her Broadway debut last year as boozy orphanage matron Miss Hannigan in Annie, ripped through an off-the-rails rendition of "Little Girls" for her second and final encore.
6. A featured player in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, Lynch plumbed her lower register on "The Skeletons of Quinto" and "Blood on the Coals" by the Folksmen, the fictitious folk trio seen in A Mighty Wind. Sorry, no songs from Best in Show.